The DCEU may not be as sprawling as the MCU yet, but DC Comics and Warner Bros. will be spending the foreseeable future expanding their shared universe and bringing a number of characters and concepts to the big screen. As it stands, they’ve currently got a massive list of projects in development, from sequels like Man of Steel 2 to Justice League solo films like Cyborg.
While only a few of these are actually on their way to theaters in the foreseeable future, like this year’s Wonder Woman and Justice League and next year’s Aquaman, each month seems to bring about the possibility of something new. Recently, we laid out a number of plots and heroes from the comics we don’t think will show up in the DCEU anytime soon, so this time we decided to focus on our hopes and dreams. Here are 15 Things From The Comics We Want to See in the DCEU.
15. The Lantern Spectrum
After a failed attempt to bring Green Lantern to the big screen in a successful way, one of DC’s more concrete film plans is to make a movie called Green Lantern Corps that will focus on a number of galactic protectors. In doing so, they’ll be able to shine a light on a few of the many heroes who have wielded the Green Lantern rings over the years. But as fans well know, Green isn’t the only color of power in the universe.
While other Lanterns, such as the Sinestro-led Yellow Lanterns, have been teased over the years, it wasn’t until 2004’s Green Lantern: Rebirth that the full Emotional Spectrum was revealed. Written by Geoff Johns (now the head of the DCEU), we wouldn’t be surprised if the seeds for the other six Lantern Corps were teased in the upcoming movie.
Though arcs like Blackest Night and Brightest Day are likely far off, we could see the Yellow, Red, Blue, Violet, Indigo, and Orange rings introduced over the next few years in the DCEU. With them, we’d be able to meet a number of different alien species and explore the different paths each Corps takes in their pursuits.
14. Birds of Prey
Birds of Prey are a group that’s long-teased for inclusion in the DCEU. Already a popular team in the comics, they even had a little-seen live-action TV series in the early ’00s. While Gotham City Sirens seems to have taken the film’s place, we could easily see the Birds show up as the heroic enemies of Harley Quinn and her partners-in-crime. With the recent news that Joss Whedon will be making Batgirl, it seems even more likely that the Birds of Prey will show up on screen soon.
Beginning in 1996’s Birds of Prey: Black Canary/Oracle, the group began life as a team-up between Canary and Barbara Gordon’s Oracle alter-ego. From there, a number of other female heroes joined their ranks, most notably the Huntress. In the New 52, Oracle was changed to Batgirl, teeing up the potential film if the DCEU wants to introduce Huntress and Black Canary. While both of those characters have long histories on TV already thanks to Arrow, we could see the film’s follow The Flash’s lead and receive big screen counterparts as well.
13. Green Arrow
If the DCEU decides it has no qualms bringing established characters from the Arrowverse into the film universe, then one leading candidate for a dual adaptation is Green Arrow. Though not a first tier member of the Justice League, Oliver Queen has had a long history with the group. While he’s similar in some ways to Batman, the Green Arrow of the movies would allow the character’s signature humor and progressive politics to come to life. While Arrow has developed a fascinating character, it hardly resembles the Green Arrow comic readers are familiar with.
It would also be great to see Black Canary introduced as a leading character, and then have Oliver Queen serve as her love interest. Not only would it give us the romance from the comics that seems destined to never occur on TV, but it would invert the traditional trope of a male hero having a secondary female character as a love interest.
Like Green Arrow, Supergirl is a must for the DCEU. Thanks to a Man of Steel prequel comic, she technically has already been introduced. Still, seeing her come to life on the big screen would be phenomenal. Similar to the Flash, DC would have a hard time staying true to Kara Zor-El without copying what we see each week on Supergirl, but the addition of another strong female character to the testosterone-fueled DCEU would be a boon.
As it stands, we don’t know in what state Superman will return to the DCEU when he inevitably reappears. If he takes a turn for the dark side, or even fails to reappear at all for some time, Supergirl would be a worthy hero to step into his place. She also offers a character with more of a connection to Krypton, given she was older when she left the dying planet. As such, we could learn a lot more about the history of the doomed planet that was teased in the awesome opening of Man of Steel.
11. The Rogues
In the comics, the Flash has one of the best Rogues Galleries around. Appropriately dubbed the Rogues, these villains often join forces to take down the Fastest Man Alive. While his first film might be too early to introduce a bunch of villains, it must just be the right tactic considering how truly powerful the Flash is.
Since Barry’s capable of taking down most threats in the blink of an eye, it would be fitting to see Flash face not one, but many enemies. A number of them have shown up on The Flash TV show, but even the series hasn’t properly utilized the concept of the Rogues. With Captain Boomerang already at the large in the DCEU, we’d love to Mirror Master, Captain Cold, and others join up to bring some swagger and humor to The Flash. While he’ll certainly have to face a threat, it’d be a mistake for the movie not to have a little fun along the way.
10. Grant Morrison’s Animal Man
Speaking of Mirror Master, one of the great revivals of the Rogue came along with the reinvention of Animal Man. A hero who can utilize the powers of the various members of the Animal Kingdom, venerable writer Grant Morrison decided to take him in a very different direction in the ‘80s. During his run, Morrison’s Animal Man decided to become a vegetarian and animal rights activist, given his abilities. This made him the target of the government, who sent Mirror Master to kill him.
The whole run is incredibly trippy, with Animal Man breaking the fourth wall regularly, years before Deadpool. It also featured Morrison as a character and had a number of psychedelic side journeys. It’s one of the most idiosyncratic comics of all time, and could be a truly unique film if DC and WB have the gall to make it. While it might not fit into the established DCEU, we think it’s a story that could set the company apart from their peers.
9. Mr. Mxyzptlk
Like Morrison’s version of Animal Man, Mr. Mxyzptlk is one of DC’s more bizarre creations. Debuting way back in Superman #30 and created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, Mxyzptlk is a Fifth-Dimensional imp with almost infinite powers to alter reality. He generally causes trouble for Superman and his pantheon, and has been introduced in two very different versions on Smallville and Supergirl.
Given the the tendency for the DCEU to be rather dour, having a chaotic and humorous force like Mxyzptlk would do a lot to liven things up for whoever he decides to torment. While it’s hard to imagine him facing the Man of Steel anytime soon, his early introduction in Superman’s comic book run do provide a precedent for it.
8. Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes)
Blue Beetle has a long history in the comics. Debuting in Mystery Men Comics #1 in 1939, the character of Dan Garrett would eventually end up at Charlton Comics. Initially using a special vitamin to gain powers, something that was all the rage in comics at the time, Garrett was later retconned as receiving his powers from a mystic scarab. Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Ted Kord version of the Blue Beetle became the main one in DC’s continuity. Though he never actually possessed the scarab, Kord used technology to fight crime. Then, during 2006’s Infinite Crisis, DC introduced Jaime Reyes, the new Blue Beetle.
Possessing the scarab and gaining all new powers and armor, Jamie was a new teen hero to DC focus on. Since then, he’s shown up in various versions of the Teen Titans and played a huge role in Young Justice. His wide-range of powers and his cosmic connections would allow DC to expand their reach in the DCEU while following the lead of Spider-Man: Homecoming and focusing on a teen hero who has to struggle with both school and supervillains.
7. The Multiverse
While we don’t see Crisis happening in the DCEU for quite a long time, the TV side of things have shown that introducing the Multiverse early can be useful. In the comics, the conceit of parallel worlds allowed DC to introduce new heroes in the Silver Age while still telling stories involving their Golden Age counterparts. For two decades, this practice continued. Even after Crisis, the use of parallel Earths has allowed DC to tell tales involving different takes on their classic heroes.
Just like our belief that the DCEU should use Elseworlds as a blueprint, we think the introduction of the Multiverse would allow the films to tell their main DCEU story while exploring a number of other avenues. This would let multiple Blue Beetles exist, allow a story involving Animal Man or Mr. Mxyzptlk make sense, and give DC a chance to experiment with new things without ditching their current shared universe.
6. The Bat Family
In the DCEU, Batman is a relatively new figure. Still, Batman v Superman made it clear that he’s got quite a history and has been operating for years. With the recent news that both Nightwing and Batgirl movies are coming soon, we think DC could set up an entirely different corner of their universe focusing on the Bat Family. In the comics, the group of heroes surrounding the Dark Knight has grown exponentially over the years, and the movies have the same opportunity.
Not only do Nightwing, Batgirl, and the concept of Bruce’s sidekicks need to be set up, but the mystery of the Robin that Joker murdered needs to unfold. With the Bat Family slowly introduced into the DCEU, we could see Ben Affleck’s brutal take on the character given more humanity and get to experience a new generation of vigilantes in the streets of Gotham.
5. Batwoman and Renee Montoya
With Nightwing and Batgirl on their way, the next member of the Bat Family we want to see get a film is Batwoman. Her recent years in the comics have seen her story wrapped in horror and noir trappings, which could make a movie focusing on her a singular affair in the DCEU. Batwoman’s story also allows for the introduction of Renee Montoya. Once a GCPD officer, Montoya eventually takes the mantle of the Question. Between Batwoman and the Question, the DCEU could explore some dark and supernatural elements with plenty of spy and detective themes thrown in to make for a truly fun film.
Even better, but the relationship between Kate Kane and Renee Montoya is one of a number of LGBTQ couplings we’d love to see make its way from the comics to movies. Batgirl will allow DC to focus on a younger hero, but Batwoman and Montoya would allow the shared universe to introduced two strong, gay characters who are also expert detectives and vigilantes.
4. All-Star Superman
Written by Grant Morrison and exquisitely drawn by Frank Quitely, 2005’s All-Star Superman has become a modern classic and one of the definitive Man of Steel stories. Already adapted into an animated film, we think it could make for the perfect Superman movie if kept true to the comic. And given the relative stand-alone nature of the book, it would even be possible to make it outside of the main DCEU with another actor besides Henry Cavill.
The story is perfect for readers new to Superman, and has helped many come around on the all-powerful hero. In the tale, Superman is granted a new ability to expand his protective aura, but the result leaves him on the brink of death with one year left to live. What follows is a series of adventures and Herculean tasks, as Superman and Lois Lane travel through the history of Superman and face many threats and friends.
It’s a heartwarming tale and would do much to offset the perceived negativity and gloominess of the existing DCEU, all while giving fans the version of Superman they’ve long hoped to see return to the screen.
3. Young Justice
For years, Young Justice was a cult classic thanks to being cancelled by Cartoon Network after just two excellent seasons. In a rare feat for a cartoon, the show featured an overarching plot and brought together a team of young heroes almost as expansive as the roster of Justice League Unlimited. While fans are rejoicing now that the show will be returning for a third season, a movie adaptation would be even more exciting.
With characters like Nightwing and Batgirl coming to the screen, and our hope that Jaime Reyes will join them, the DCEU would just need to introduce a few other sidekicks to really kick things off. While it’s unlikely that the green Flash will get a teen partner anytime soon, we could see Aqualad, Beast Boy, and others join the cinematic universe and form the black-ops team of young heroes. In doing so, DC and WB could appeal to a younger audience while also delivering an exciting action film.
2. Tower of Babel
Like All-Star Superman, Morrison and Mark Waid’s 2000 comic JLA: Tower of Babel would be a perfect way to round out a trilogy of Justice League films. Aspects of the plot were proposed for George Miller’s failed Justice League: Mortal, and the animated Justice League: Doom used the conceit as the basis for the film. But a proper big screen adaptation would be unlike anything seen yet in superhero films.
The plot revolves around the idea that Batman keeps files on every member of the League with details for how to defeat them should they ever go rogue. Unfortunately, Ra’s al Ghul steals these plans and uses them to attack the League, driving a wedge between them and Batman.
The story is the perfect highlight for the genius of Batman and how he’s always ready with a plan. It would also force him to confront his trust issues and prove to his team that he can work with them. More than that, it would just be an exciting experience to watch each of Bruce’s carefully concocted plans used against his allies.
While Marvel has found success blending action and humor, there’s no reason the DCEU needs to follow that example to be successful. Still, the entries on this list have shown that DC Comics is full of stories that are weird, funny, and hopeful. So far, thanks to the lead of Christopher Nolan’s excellent and ponderous trilogy of Batman films, the DCEU has followed a dark and somber path. While this way of telling stories is perfectly fine and helps set them apart, they’re missing an opportunity to tell a wider range of tales that explore more than just a few emotions.
As the DCEU expands, it needs to embrace the full spectrum of its stories. Not every movie needs light, but entry after entry steeped in grit and grime can get tiring. Even dark efforts from Marvel like Jessica Jones and Daredevil feature plenty of wry humor, proving that the two sensibilities can mix. DC has a lot of goodwill from fans, but each successive movie that treads the same path as the last risks alienating more and more of their core audience. By injecting a little humor, while fully exploring lighter and more bizarre elements in other stories, DC and WB will ensure their shared universe remains strong for decades to come.
Which characters and plots from the comics do you want to see in the DCEU? Let us know in the comments.